In-Person, Outdoor Worship
There will be no early service September 13 or 20.
The FUPC Session has approved optional outdoor, in-person worship services at 8:30 a.m. each Sunday. They will be held between Fellowship Hall (where worship leaders will be) and the Courtyard area outside the Sanctuary. The sound system will support wide physical distancing on various FUPC grassy areas and under the canopy. This worship opportunity will be closely monitored and evaluated in compliance with the guidance of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and our state and local public health officials. A worship service may be suspended by Session at any time.
What to Expect
Early services will be shorter (30-40 minutes), lighter, and meditative. They are intended for those who are up early, following CDC behaviors, showing no Covid-19 symptoms, willing to mask for the entire time, and prepared to abide with social distancing. Some worship elements will be familiar and some innovative as we get used to being together outdoors. We expect God to be present in the newness and change.
What about 10:00 and 11:00?
We are happy to say that our primary service at 10:00 will still be livestreamed every Sunday for all who choose to worship from home. (Early service cannot be made available by livestream.) No in-person worship in the Sanctuary has been approved by the Session. If you miss a service, you can go to our YouTube channel to see the recorded service at a later time. At 11:00, all are invited to join the Zoom Gathering Place conversation. There is also a Zoom discussion on The Psalms at 11:15 a.m. Details are in the Weekend Update each Friday.
How to Prepare for 8:30 Worship
Attendance is always an individual and voluntary matter. As much as we miss being together, because there is a known higher risk for complications if this virus is contracted, we encourage individuals in the following categories to participate by 10:00 livestream:
- those who are over 65, and
- those with underlying health conditions (high blood pressure, chronic lung disease, heart concerns, diabetes, severe obesity, asthma, or weakened immune system).
Please do not attend if:
- you have had a fever of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or higher within two days of the service.
- you have had a cough, shortness of breath, or other symptoms typical of Covid-19.
- you have had known exposure to someone with Covid-19 in the past 14 days.
Please do not take risks with your own health or the health of others.
If you prefer not to wear a mask, please continue to worship by livestream at 10:00 a.m. We are committed to the safety of all.
If You Decide to Attend:
- Dress casually and comfortably. (And, yes—please wear a mask upon arrival.)
- Bring your own lawn chair or blanket, sunscreen, and water bottle. No FUPC chairs will be arranged.
- Wear a hat or bring a small umbrella (that does not block the view for others).
- Follow 6’ physical distancing at all times.
- Acknowledge one another with nods and smiles instead of any handshakes, hugs, or other physical contact.
- Childcare cannot be available.
- Sit in family groups only if you have been together often. Please divide if family groups are large.
- Even if you have been together socially with FUPC friends, please sit separately.
- After the service, wave a thoughtful “hello” across the campus from a safe distance without any extended socializing or congregating.
How Shall We Sing the Lord’s Song in this Strange Land?
More of our music will intentionally be instrumental. Vocalists and ensembles will be distanced 16’. The congregation will wear masks. Fewer hymn verses will be included. Elements like quiet personal reflection while music is played, humming, rhythm, sign language, and movement will be used. Bulletins may be printed at home or accessible by phone (depending on sun glare). A few printed bulletin copies will be available onsite. We will be able to personally space ourselves apart from others.
What About Speaking, the Peace, and the Prayers?
Those who lead will be distanced 16’ to speak. The congregation will join in (as you choose) under masks. We will not move toward each other for the Peace but will use other methods to joyfully acknowledge God’s presence in our church family. Each week, our co-pastors will receive your “Joys and Concerns” requests by text or email (to them by Saturday evening) to include in the services.
Will We Have Communion?
Holy Communion outdoors has not been approved by the Session. Communion will be served on August 16 in a manner to be decided as more is known about the virus. All FUPC members and regularly worshiping friends will be notified to be included.
How Can I Make a Financial Offering?
Thank you for your faithful commitment to giving! There will be one secure box at a “welcome” table for your pledges and offerings. You may also safely send financial gifts by U.S. mail, arrange for automatic withdrawal from your checking account, or use PayPal on the website to contribute.
What if the Weather Looks Unpredictable?
We will be following the 40/29 weather report and posting any worship changes to our website by 8 p.m. on Saturday. A congregational email will also be sent. Since we need to stay outdoors, we will not plan to worship at 8:30 in inclement weather to avoid confusion, protect the musical instruments and PA system, and avoid the danger of electrical shock. There is always a chance the forecast will be incorrect, but we’ll follow the posting.
What if There Is an Outbreak?
That is the last thing we would ever want. We will keep a weekly record of each person who attends. If you develop any Covid-19 symptoms, it is imperative that you call the church immediately so we can keep the congregation informed of possible exposure. This information will be reported to the Arkansas Department of Health.
What Is Our Common Purpose?
Whether we are worshiping God in-person outdoors or by livestream from home, we devote ourselves to practicing our faith, to showing God’s love, and to proclaiming and serving Christ, the Hope of our changing world.